Readjusters Party...


Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2019
Reaction score
I found this political party in Virginia after the Reconstruction years that was founded by General Mahone... Its interesting the Conservatives wanted to pay the bond holders and declared schools unnessassacy....


The Readjuster Party was the shortest-lived and most radical reforming political party in Virginia’s history. Founded in February 1879, it won majorities in both houses of the General Assembly in the legislative election that autumn, and its candidates won all the statewide offices in 1881. The party rose to power because of the debt controversy, which involved disagreements about how to pay almost $34 million in state debt accrued before the American Civil War (1861–1865) on internal-improvement projects. By 1871, that number had risen to $45.6 million. The political faction called Funders resisted any reduction on the state debt lest it hurt Virginia’s standing with creditors, while the Readjusters, seeing the debt as threatening important state programs such as public schools, sought to “readjust,” or reduce the amount of the principal and the rate of interest. With a coalition of white farmers and working men, Democrats, Republicans, and African Americans, and under the leadership of the railroad executive and former Confederate general William Mahone, the party passed the Riddleberger Act of 1882, which reduced the principal of the debt and the interest owed. The next year, however, the Readjuster Party’s candidates lost their legislative majorities, and its candidates for statewide office all lost in 1885, after which the party ceased to function.


William Mahone, of Petersburg, emerged as leader of the Readjusters. He was a short man with a long beard and inexhaustible energy who had commanded Confederate forces at the Battle of the Crater (1864) and created what became the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Originally a leader in the Conservative Party and an opponent of the radical reforms of Congressional Reconstruction, Mahone forged a coalition of politicians from both parties and both races who opposed the reduction of school appropriations and wished to refinance the debt. Readjusters appealed to white and black families on the grounds that the Funders had failed to support the public schools, and specifically to African Americans on the additional grounds that the Conservatives had imposed a poll tax as a prerequisite for voting that made it more difficult for black men to vote.

Here is wiki take:


The Readjuster Party was a bi-racial left-wing state-level political party formed in Virginia in the late 1870s during the turbulent period following the Reconstruction era. Readjusters aspired "to break the power of wealth and established privilege"[2] among the planter elite of white men in the state and to promote public education. The party's program attracted support among both white people and African-Americans.

The party was led by Harrison H. Riddleberger of Woodstock, an attorney, and William Mahone, a former Confederate general who was president of several railroads. Mahone was a major force in Virginia politics from around 1870 until 1883, when the Readjusters lost control to white Democrats.[3]

The Readjuster Party refinanced the Commonwealth's debts and invested in schools, especially for African Americans. African Americans were appointed teachers. The party increased funding for what is now Virginia Tech and established its black counterpart, Virginia State University. The Readjuster Party abolished the poll tax and the public whipping post. Because of expanded voting, Danville elected a black-majority town council and hired an unprecedented integrated police force.